Thursday, March 19, 2015

Does The Fine Tuning Argument Make God Responsible For Natural Evil?

I just had a idea. I was thinking about the fine tuning argument which tends to be fairly popular among internet apologists and whether or not that causes problems for the problem of suffering. Natural evil is an evil for which "no non-divine agent can be held morally responsible for its occurrence." Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires, droughts, meteor impacts, and diseases that cause sentient beings to suffer or die and for which no human being is responsible are examples of natural evil.

Classical theists have acknowledged that the problem of natural evil is a big one, and have tried to come up with many solutions, or theodocies, in trying to explain why an infinitely good deity would allow them. But the question I want to ask here, is whether god merely "allows" such evils or is the ultimate cause of them. Some theists maintain this claim that god allows these evils, but doesn't cause them. And some theists for example, claim that god has nothing to do with natural evil, and that they are caused by agents other than god, like demons.

I think there is a possible contradiction between theists who take these views on natural evil, and who hold to the fine tuning argument. Basically, if god fine tuned the universe, how is he not also responsible for all the natural evil in it? In other words, how is this:

A1. The fine tuning of the universe is either due to physical necessity, chance or design.
A2. Fine tuning is not due to either physical necessity or chance.
A3. Therefore, it is due to design.

Compatible with this, such that god isn't responsible for natural evil?:

B1. God (an omnipotent, omniscience, omni-benevolent being) exists.
B2. Natural evil exists.
B3. God is the creator and designer of the physical universe, including the laws that govern it.
B4. Natural disasters, and the evil they cause, are a direct byproduct of the laws that govern our universe.

A3 is basically making the same claim that B3 is making, and no theist who holds to the FTA wants to deny that. So where can the theist here try to deny that god is the author of the natural evils found in the universe? Well, they can try and deny B4, and suppose like Alvin Plantinga that demons may be responsible for natural evils. But who is going take this seriously? If demons are responsible for earthquakes, floods, or forest fires, why do they only act in ways according to the laws of physics, and only where there is a natural explanation? Why can't demons act in ways where a natural explanation is impossible? I wrote a blog post a while back showing where god creates hurricanes. The paths of hurricanes all occur in areas where climatic conditions make it possible. If demons or any other supernatural agents caused hurricanes, why would they only be able to do it where climatic conditions make it possible? The same goes with earthquakes, floods and forest fires. Also, since many natural disasters, like the meteor that hit earth 65 million years ago that killed the dinosaurs, lead to our evolution, if these events were caused by demons then wouldn't demons be responsible for the trajectory of our evolution, and not god?

The view that demons create natural evils is also a kind of just-so story. It seems completely unverifiable and unfalsifiable, perhaps, even in principle. How could anyone outline a distinguishing factor between earthquake X happened naturally, and earthquake X happened by demons using nature? Purely natural explanations for natural evils work. No demons required. But natural evils are only a problem given a certain kind of theistic worldview. It isn't a problem for the naturalist. So can the fine tuning proponent deny that god is responsible for the natural evils that are a direct byproduct of the laws that govern the universe? 

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